Tips to Avoid Unnecessary Challenges in Construction Closeout

A construction project manager’s responsibility does not end with the completion of the construction project. A successful construction project closeout involves many tasks. 

To ensure that you follow the standard operating procedure for construction project management, it’s crucial to create a construction project closeout checklist. This will provide an outline of all the tasks that must be completed to close out construction successfully and manage the project to conclusion.

In this article, we discuss the construction closeout process and give tips to help develop an effective construction closeout checklist.

What Is Construction Project Closeout? What Are Closeout Documents for Construction Projects?

Construction closeout is a process by which all the tasks required to close out construction are completed. 

Documentation provides an effective audit trail of a project journey. If closeout documents are not completed, should issues or disputes arise in the future we cannot be certain that the construction was completed to the specification as stipulated by the contract.

The documentation used during construction closeout includes warranties, certificates of completion, as-built drawings, and operation manuals. These documents include:

  • The final punch list

  • Obtaining certificates of occupancy and completion

  • As-built drawings

  • Training for building systems and operating and maintenance manuals

  • Final inspections

  • Obtaining final payments

  • Warranties

This process should also ensure that all closeout documents for construction projects are shared with appropriate project stakeholders.

Tips to create a construction project closeout checklist

A construction project closeout checklist is a crucial tool that helps ensure a successful project. When developing the checklist, you should:

  • List all the tasks that must be completed during the closeout process. These will include construction project completion activities, documentation management, and financial tasks.

  • Categorize the tasks.

  • Start as soon as possible. This will help avoid holdups and delays.

  • Communicate effectively. There will be many stakeholders involved in the closeout process. It’s crucial that they understand their part in it, and their responsibilities in enabling successful closeout.

  • Document everything. Accurate records are critical. They help keep the project closeout on track and provide evidence that all activities have been completed successfully.

  • Review and revise all closeout documentation and the construction project closeout checklist to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Project completion activities

Tasks under this category include:

  • Final inspection reports that confirm required standards of construction have been met and that all construction works have been completed satisfactorily. Without these documents, the project should not be signed off.

  • Obtain certificates of occupancy and completion. These provide evidence that the building is safe. Without these documents, the building cannot be occupied.

  • Deliver systems training to the occupants/client to ensure they understand how to use and maintain the building, its systems, and equipment.

Financial activities

You’ll need to keep on top of all financial activities relating to closeout. These include:

  • Submitting final change orders, to ensure the project is completed to the client’s specifications.

  • Final payment must be made before the project can be closed.

  • Resolution of outstanding payment issues – again, the project cannot be closed out until all payments have been made.

Documentation management

The completion and organization of closeout documentation is crucial. This includes:

  • Construction closeout documentation, which includes certificates of completion, warranties, and as-built drawings. As-built drawings are crucial for operation, maintenance, and repairs in the future.

  • Operation and maintenance manuals, containing essential information to provide guidance in the operation and maintenance of the building.

Project closeout in construction – familiar challenges

The process of closing out a construction project can be challenging, especially for those with little experience. Many of the common challenges can be avoided by using a comprehensive construction project closeout checklist. These challenges include:

  • Inaccurate or incomplete closeout documents

  • Unresolved payment issues

  • Delays in final approvals and completion

The following four tips will help to avoid such challenges:

  1. Follow standard project management and operating procedures

  2. Meet with all stakeholders regularly to review the closeout process and progress

  3. Develop a plan to avoid/resolve payment issues

  4. Ensure that all project stakeholders understand their responsibilities in the closeout process

By creating a solid construction project closeout checklist, we ensure that all tasks are managed and documented and that all documentation is completed accurately and shared with the appropriate stakeholders.

The tips we’ve provided in this article will help you to close out construction projects successfully, keeping everyone in the loop with an effective process and communication.

At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play – including how they are conceived, designed, and created. To leverage our experience in successful construction project management, contact ACB Consulting.

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